Suzanne Fazalare wants to be a photographer and writer. Younger sister Angela just quit her job at an insurance agency to study literature. And Cynthia is your basic college student, working on a business degree.
What’s unusual about the Fazalare sisters is that they all are starting school at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks this month--and they all are juniors. Two of them even share a couple of classes.
“Cal Lutheran is the kind of school where we’ve had a long history of siblings enrolling,” said Marc Meredith, director of admissions at the university. “But I haven’t experienced in my career three people from the same family being admitted to the same school at the same time.”
“It was sort of a follow-the-leader thing,” Suzanne, 26, explained.
After her sister, Angela, 25, was accepted at Cal Lutheran, Suzanne said she and Cynthia began giving the small, 2,500-student private school a closer examination.
“I wasn’t looking for a university that was large,” said Suzanne, a communications major. “So far, this has been everything I’ve been looking for.”
Cynthia, 22, said choosing Cal Lutheran has allowed her to attend school close to Agoura Hills, where she lives with her parents, Suzanne and two other siblings. Angela lives in Calabasas.
“I went and looked at a lot of schools,” Cynthia said. “I thought I was going to go to school up north, like to San Francisco State.”
Angela, an English major also pursuing a minor in business, said she now has two classes with younger sister Cynthia.
“Within a week of school starting we all were here,” Angela said. “We usually don’t see a lot of each other.”
Angela added that she found Cal Lutheran’s size and its reputation for personal attention from faculty and staff members especially attractive after years of enduring long lines and surly service as a part-time student in a community college.
“I didn’t want the hassle,” Angela said. “Because of the number of students here, it’s really weird not to have to wait in line, and everyone’s friendly. In the parking lot, you don’t have to wait for a spot. It’s great.”
Added Suzanne: “You feel like they want you to be a part of the school.”
Suzanne said she believes Cal Lutheran’s environment and communications curriculum will enable her to fulfill her goals of becoming a traveling photographer and writer.
“I had been sort of unfocused, but I came here and that major got me focused,” she said. “It’s everything I’ve wanted to do.”
Angela quit her job at an insurance company earlier this month so she can devote more time to her studies.
After years of working just to make ends meet, she said getting her bachelor’s degree in English, and possibly a master’s degree later, will open doors to a better career.
“I think I’ve been kept back somewhat because I don’t have that degree under my belt,” Angela said. “If I was married it would be more difficult to pursue this.”
Although attending Cal Lutheran isn’t cheap, all three Fazalares agreed that the school’s advantages have made their long hours of filling out applications for student loans and grants worthwhile.
“We have to support ourselves, but we’re at a time in our lives where we just had to go for it,” Suzanne said.
Meredith said another Fazalare sister, Melissa, who attends Moorpark College, may soon join her three siblings.
“They’ve been working on her,” he said. “There could be four.”